Taxes Redux: More Money for War! and the Tax System is Racist!

We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation’s intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now it’s more than $80 billion.

By Bill Adamski  WAMM Newsletter  Vol. 39  No. 2  Spring 2021

The U.S. government has always had an unspeakably colossal focus on trying to maintain unwanted, coercive influence in many countries around the world. This is done in the unspoken name of hegemony and/or the extraction of resources [often characterized as U.S. “interests”]. It is most evident in the monstrously outsized diversion of U.S. taxpayer money – both in preparing for and in inflicting war and other military interventions on foreign countries.

The Pentagon budget sucks up more than an outrageously outsized 50 percent of the total Fiscal Year 2021 discretionary budget.[i]

The entire authorized FY 2021 Pentagon budget – a record $741 billion – covers base defense costs plus nuclear weapons research (through the Department of Energy and other agencies), and Overseas Contingency Operations for ongoing foreign war costs (mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan).[ii]

The Pentagon justifies the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East as coming under the 2001 “Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF),” which was passed by Congress reacting hastily and then-President George W. Bush signing it in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Implementing the AUMF has also been arrogantly named the “Global War On Terror.”

A massive foreign intelligence apparatus supports these overseas invasions through “black budgets” shrouded in mystery. Military intelligence is included in the Pentagon budget ($23 billion in 2021).[iii]  Additionally, a big part of 18 intelligence agencies within the National Intelligence Program conduct intelligence abroad; nearly $62 billion was allocated for these agencies in 2021.[iv] According to renowned defense watchdog William Hartung, together with Mandy Smithberger, (“Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget,” Pogo/Tom Dispatch. May 7, 2019):

We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation’s intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now it’s more than $80 billion. The bulk of the funding, including the CIA and the NSA, is believed to be hidden under obscure line items in the Pentagon budget.[v]

Consequently, we U.S. citizens (indeed, all global residents) need more desperately than ever to demand that our government massively redirect U.S. taxpayer money away from U.S. foreign domination and oppression through wars and other means, and towards supporting human needs in the U.S. and engaging in diplomacy with the world.

Endnotes
[i] Congress Overrides Trump Veto of Defense Bill. Defense News/Assoc. Press. January 1, 2021. tinyurl.com/3vkuaet3
[ii] Explanations of the breakdown of the U.S. budget can be found at: “U.S. Military Budget, Its Components, Challenges, and Growth.” The Balance. Feb 11, 2020. tinyurl.com/yrbj72p7 Note: Total mandatory federal spending ($2.97 trillion) is for social insurance programs paid by the taxpayers – i.e., Social Security, Medicare, unemployment compensation, Medicaid. The Pentagon commands half of $1.47 trillion discretionary portion of the federal budget. Education, health and human services are funded out of the rest.
[iii] “Secretive Military Intelligence Program Budget Hits Nine Year Spending High. Aaron Mehta. October 21, 2020. Defense News. tinyurl.com/52bw9prm
[iv] U.S. Intelligence Community Budget. Office of Director of Intelligence. https://www.dni.gov/index.php/what-we-do/ic-budget
[v] https://tinyurl.com/ye8eva7t
ACTION:
Military spending cards with information for FY2021 on 3 x 5  cardstock are available in quantity from the WAMM office: 612-827-5364; online at womenagainstmilitarymadness.org. A card about nuclear weapons is also available.
The FY2022 budget is being decided now. Expectations are that it will resemble FY2021. Tell Congress to fund human needs, not war! Cut the Pentagon budget!
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Editor’s Note: I found the following articles about how the U.S. taxation system is racist. (Take your pick by copying and pasting the title of that you want to view.) You do not need to read all of course, but if you think about it, it’s easy to see how the tax structure and the forms themselves are racist.

There are many connections between the obscene money spent for war and a racist America. First, the war abroad, which with bombings and invasions and establishment of US bases, affects primarily people of color. Then the war at home: America at war with itself and the war on the poor, which is not limited to but certainly is aimed at the oppression of people of color.

How the U.S. Tax Code Privileges White Families – The Atlantic

Mar 23, 2021 — What I saw every year was what researchers call the “marriage penalty”: My parents, like many other married Black couples trying to pay for a …

How inequities in U.S. taxation can perpetuate systemic …

https://equitablegrowth.org › how-inequities-in-u-s-taxa…
Apr 20, 2021 — At look at how tax policy and inequitable taxation perpetuate systemic racism—with focus on property tax and income tax.

Is the tax code racist? – Marketplace

https://www.marketplace.org › 2021/03/23 › is-the-tax-…
Mar 23, 2021 — Professor Dorothy Brown of Emory University became a “detective,” searching for data on how the tax code impacts Black Americans.

More State Lawmakers Should Consider How Racism Shapes …

https://www.cbpp.org › blog › more-state-lawmakers-sh…
Mar 23, 2021 — State lawmakers nationwide can learn from the Oregon House Revenue Committee’s efforts to understand and account for the effects of racism

America’s Tax Code Leaves Black People Behind: Dorothy …

https://www.bloomberg.com › news › features › americ…
Mar 10, 2021 — Dorothy Brown has spent her career as a law professor documenting racism in a tax system that’s supposedly colorblind.

Taxes help white people get richer in America – Vox

https://www.vox.com › dorothy-brown-interview-taxes
Apr 20, 2021 — Emory University law professor Dorothy Brown discusses her new book, The Whiteness of Wealth, about how the tax code is stacked in favor of …

Structural Racism and State Tax Policy – Colorado Fiscal …

http://www.coloradofiscal.org › uploads › 2020/02    PDF
At the turn of the 20th century, Kentucky allocated property taxes to its racially segregated schools based on taxpayers’ race: schools attended by white children …

Black families pay significantly higher property taxes – The …

https://www.washingtonpost.com › business › 2020/07/02
Jul 2, 2020 — As black Americans are leading protests against police violence in the United States, a new study shows they pay a disproportionate amount of …

#BlackTaxpayersMatter: Anti-Racist Restructuring of U.S. Tax …

https://www.americanbar.org › crsj › publications › bla..
Dec 14, 2020 — What can we as civil rights and social justice advocates do? First, we must recognize that economic injustice leads directly to income and wealth …

“”Our Taxes Are Too Damn High”” by Bernadette Atuahene

by B Atuahene · 2018 · Cited by 32 — To prevent inflated property tax bills, the Michigan Constitution prohibits property tax assessments from exceeding 50% of a property’s market value. Between …

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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